This time of year is bittersweet for me. Over the years, the month of April has brought tests and challenges that were painful and difficult. My emotions remember that traumatic path and want to shy away from the memories. My mind wants to block out the events themselves.
One event happened 19 years ago. I was in the middle of dealing with a family-wide bout of the chicken pox while trying to adjust to a recent move to an apartment with four children ages 9, 6, 2 1/2 and 8 1/2 months. The day after my husband was able to return to work, our 6 year-old son was involved in an accident near the playground of the apartment complex. I remember it vividly. The innocence of the oldest twirling obliviously with a stream of yellow caution tape. The horror of seeing my 6 year-old unconscious on the ground with no one around to help. The frustration of wanting to rush out but concern over leaving the two younger ones in the apartment by themselves. Having to leave my children in the care of a stranger while I went to the hospital.
Several years ago I found myself seeing a Christian counselor trying to understand where “I” had gone. I couldn’t understand why my zest for life had abandoned me. It felt like I had been swallowed by a black hole. I had been enjoying new energy and health after having lost a great deal of weight when my normally optimistic self seemed to ooze out of every pore never to be seen again. If you have never been clinically depressed it is something that is hard to explain. Feeling that you are sitting in a tiny boat in the middle of a vast body of water with no shore in sight and no clue as to where that shore or any safe haven might be.
Even as I remember the pain of my son’s accident and the struggles that followed as he worked to overcome his brain injury, I rejoice that he is now finishing college and has taken the recovery skill of learning to play instruments and turned it into a passion. I marvel at his gift for music and am thrilled that he will graduate next May with a degree in Music Composition.
As for me, I rejoice that God had a way out of the pit that I was in. Thankfully, doctors were able to diagnose the cause of my depression which enabled me to find “me” and to see that there was indeed light and a way back to feeling whole again.
What does any of this have to do with writing? Aside from believing that life’s trials and challenges give us insight that we would never experience otherwise for our writing, they also give us perspective. As important as our writing is to us and even to God, He has a life journey for us. It lasts more than a moment be it of pain or trauma or even joy. Part of that journey is to resurrect those moments and bring something new out of our life.
So, while part of me still doesn’t look forward to the death of anything in my life, I know that it truly isn’t the end but rather the beginning of the life that He has planned. God is faithful to resurrect our dry bones and breath new life into them. (Ezekiel 37:5-6)
Elaine serves as Secretary/Treasurer for Mile High Scribes, the ACFW Southwest Denver chapter now meeting at the Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch. She is currently working on a series set in the world of professional ice hockey. Elaine and her husband are rejoicing in the thought that 2 out of 3 of their children will graduate from college in 13 months.